Sunday, March 29, 2009

Can't live with 'em, can't shoot 'em

Victoria Times-Colonist columnist Jack Knox has a fun story today about peoples' frustrations with resident Canada Geese: you know, the ones that cruise around in ever larger flocks, gobble up crops and poop on lawns. Most of the ones in this region are Giant Canada Geese, a subspecies native to Central Canada and the midwest and introduced in many other areas for reasons that are now obscure. Terry Wahl, an eminent birder and birdbook author based in Bellingham says they were introduced for hunting, but "They didn't shoot enough of them."
Of course, it didn't help that people converted many acres of waterfront and lakefront into lawns and golf courses--prime habitat for the big birds.
As far as solutions go: I like the idea of shooting them. The main problem with that is that it would be likely that more innocuous but similar types of birds, such as cackling geese, would also be killed. So an open season probably isn't a great idea. Making it a licensed business, like commercial fishing, might give government some control over which birds are targeted and who is pulling the trigger. Trouble is, the commercial fishing model hasn't worked particularly well for fish.
And there are some who love the birds, and will defend them.

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